Friday 12th of April 2024

Ask Charlie: Quick & Easy Meals

I’ve had a few requests to put together some quick and easy recipes that can be whipped up in minutes but are still super tasty… no ‘ready meals’ here, writes Charlie Gray.

These are our absolute family favourites that I swear by for when time is of the essence

Pasta Peas and Bacon


50g unsalted butter

1 shallot, very finely chopped

180g bacon (pancetta)

150g frozen peas

1/2 vegetable stock cube (Boots, Baby Organic Vegetable Stock Cube) 

350g fusilli – fresh pasta is quicker!

1tbsp double cream

Salt and pepper 

Grated Parmigiano to serve


Heat the butter in a large frying pan with lid until melted, then add the shallot. Cook gently for 5 minutes or so.

Cut the bacon into cubes and, when the shallot is golden, add to pan. Let the mixture fry for a few minutes while you stir it frequently. 

Spoon in the frozen peas, sprinkle with the stock powder and season with salt and pepper. 

Give it a good stir and then put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta for 3 minutes. Drain, and turn into the pan.

Keep watch on the sauce and add a spoonful of pasta water if it gets too dry. 

Spoon in the cream and stir-fry the whole thing for a minute or so, before you serve into bowls. 

Hand around the Parmesan and enjoy!

Salmon, Grains & Asparagus


Glorious Grains – Pre-cooked Red Rice & Quinoa

2 Wild Keto Salmon Fillets – MSC Certified

1 tbsp Olive Oil – I love the Lemon-infused one from Waitrose


Cherry tomatoes

Sea salt


Tip the grains into a lined roasting tray.

Gently place the tomatoes and salmon fillets (skin down) onto your bed of grains.

Drizzle everything with some oil, then sprinkle the dill over the salmon. 

Place into the roasting oven of your AGA or the middle of a normal oven at 180-200 degrees, uncovered, for 15 mins.

To prepare your asparagus, bend each spear until they snap, and discard the harder end. 

Put asparagus into roasting tray or dish, sprinkle over a little sea salt and a drizzle of oil.

Place into the same oven as your salmon after 5 minutes so they get 10 minutes cooking time.

Remove from the oven and dish up!


Quick soup:

Whizz up a tin of passata with some jarred pre-roasted red peppers and a little of the oil they come stored in.

Add a couple of carrots chopped into chunks, and some vegetable or chicken stock.

Simmer until the carrot is tender, blend it all up and you have a soup!

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Pasta Sauce:

Fry some chorizo or pancetta in a pan. 

Add your passata and some of the pasta water for a quick and tasty pasta sauce!


Always in the larder – Gnocchi

Cook according to the packets instructions, add some jarred or homemade pesto and voila! A super quick and simple lunch or dinner.


Quick Pesto:

Whizz up a handful of fresh basil, a handful of pine nuts, some sea salt, olive oil and grated parmesan, and there you have it! 

You can follow along with me as I cook these recipes below.


If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration, I’m offering 15% off of my Picnic Planner, Family Meal Guide & Planner and my Ask Charlie Meal Planner! Just use the code ACMEALS at checkout when you visit my online store –  Love, Charlie x

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